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Missouri Governor Parson Announces Approval of Saliva-Based COVID-19 Test

A new, saliva-based test for COVID-19 developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday.

More details were not immediately available — there had not yet been a formal announcement posted by Washington University or the FDA — but Parson said he expects "to have further updates in the coming days on how this technology can and will be used to increase COVID testing in Missouri."

Parson said the new test "will help us continue to increase testing volumes and improve turnaround time for test results."

He said the hope had been to get the test approved a month ago.

"There are some other things that go along with having the equipment to be able to utilize that, but this is a game-changer," he said.

The governor did not immediately know how soon enough of the tests might be available to aid the average school or college, for example.

It's not immediately clear if it's the same test, but Washington University's School of Medicine did announce Aug. 13 that it was looking for 2,000 volunteers among university employees and students "to evaluate the feasibility of large-scale, rapid COVID-19 saliva testing" at screening events Aug. 17-19.

"An earlier pilot run of the saliva test involved 500 volunteers. The new study will assess the ability to test a large number of people for COVID-19 and return positive results," the announcement noted. The saliva was collected by having people spit into vials.

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